What is one important thing to remember when vetting SaaS products used to improve my business?
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Make Sure to Use It
We went on a shopping spree of SaaS apps about six months into our startup. We bought many products that seemed like they would be helpful, but months later we realized we weren’t even using most of them and had to get rid of many to cut the fat. Those monthly SaaS fees add up and cut away budget space that could be used more wisely.
– Patrick Conley, Automation Heroes
2. Try Before You Buy
Trying before you buy is often a good practice. If you are paying, ensure it’s a month-to-month contract to really see how the new service is impacting your bottom line.
– Grant Gordon, Solomon Consulting Group
3. Integrate With Your Processes
Many SaaS solutions are valuable, but the real question is: Are they valuable to you? Understand how well this SaaS product integrates with your overall business processes. You’ll want to make sure the SaaS solution has the ability to integrate with your other enterprise systems that exist in the Cloud or behind your firewall. This integration is crucial to reaching the ROI goals of a SaaS solution.
– Brett Farmiloe, Internet Marketing Company
4. Reference Customers
Part of vetting SaaS products is to get feedback from other companies using them. Most people will give you the unbiased track record of the service from a customer perceptive when asked, and that is something you may not get from SaaS providers themselves.
– Phil Chen, Givit
5. Check the Export Options
Apps disappear and die, but my company needs to be able to continue functioning, which requires the ability to export data from one app and to import it into another. Whenever I’m considering putting my data into a new app, I want a guarantee that I can get my data back out of that system. The export function doesn’t necessarily have to be pretty, but I need to know it’s there and that it works.
– Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting
6. Look at Several Options
Our policy is to always look at three alternatives for any SaaS product that costs more than $150 a month. You’ll discover variances in things such as contract requirement, customer support, cancellation policies and service commitments. We got ourselves in a bind with a VOIP provider. Had I done better research, we never would have chosen them.
– Ryan Buckley, Scripted, Inc.
7. Ignore Bells and Whistles
It’s easy to be wowed by a SaaS product that has 1,000 features. But if you only need 10 of those features, don’t let it cloud your judgement. When we tested out Zapier, I asked our team to provide cases for how it would affect our work flow. Once I saw exactly how it would benefit us, we made the decision to buy. Don’t look at what the software can do for other companies; consider what it will do for you.
– Kelsey Meyer, Influence & Co.
8. Evaluate Beforehand
The temptation for many business owners is to respond to the problem of the day and make knee-jerk decisions for whatever problem is right in front of them. My advice would be to step back, get your primary stakeholders together and assess your overall needs before deciding on anything. Make sure you find as few systems as possible to meet your needs, so your users have as few places to go to do their jobs as possible. For crying out loud, make sure that it’s mobile-friendly.
– Seth Talbott, Preferling
9. Measure the Cost of Building
Measure the cost of building a similar tool in house versus paying a monthly fee for using the software. Depending on how long you estimate you’ll use the software, building in house may be a more cost-efficient option.
– Josh Weiss, Bluegala
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